Golf had been contested in the Olympics in 1900 and 1904 but has not featured since that. However, golf is set to return at the 2016 Rio Games, 112 years after it was last played. Three Indian golfers – SSP Chawrasia, Anirban Lahiri, and Aditi Ashok – made the cut in the previous edition. None of them came close to competing for a medal, though. A similar number of athletes have also qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. With four years of added experience, improved performance is expected from the golfers. A medal will be unrealistic but an improved performance might still be possible.
The Indian golf Olympics team consists of the following players
Anirban Lahiri (Men’s Event)
As a child, Anirban Lahiri was constantly on the move. Born and raised in Kolkata, India, he also spent time in Kasauli, Panchkula, and Chandigarh – all thanks to his father’s role as an army doctor. Anirban didn’t let the constant moving around interfere with some of his favorite pastimes. He became a big fan of golf at a young age and often accompanied his father Tushar on his weekend golf outings.
The Pune-born golfer impressed the junior circuit with his first win coming at the Asian Junior Team Championships in 2005. Following this, the golfer has enjoyed a handful of wins in the domestic amateur circuit, and also a silver medal wins in the team event at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
In 2007, Anirban became a professional. He has played in the PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India) and Asia Gold tour. In 2011 he won the Panasonic Open. But 2015 will always be the greatest year for Anirban because he finished at the top 5 of the PGA Championship in Wisconsin, USA. He is the first Indian to do so.
Anirban Lahiri has qualified for the Olympics by clinching the 59th spot in the final Olympic Golf Rankings. The 28-year-old professional from India will be aiming to better his record at the spectacle, when the event kicks off in Tokyo, later this month.
Udayan Mane (Men’s Event)
An Indian golfer needed an opportunity to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In the final stage of qualification and relegation, Udayan Mane made it to the 60th position and will be participating in the event.
Anirban Lahiri, who is a close friend of Udayan, learned the tricks and trade of golf in Bengaluru and turned professional at the PGTI in 2015. He is one of the most successful professionals as well as the youngest player to win two titles on the tour.
With three wins in 2019 and another two in 2020-21, Udayan has done India proud. He currently holds the fifth position on the Order of Merit, which would help him secure an Olympic berth. The golfer played at the Eisenhower Trophy before, which he hopes will come in handy when he plays at the Men’s Individual event in Tokyo starting July 29.
Aditi Ashok (Women’s Event)
In the midst of her studies, Aditi Ashok managed to find time in her life for golf. She started playing golf at the age of 5 when she saw a course and fell in love with it.
Simultaneously, she started taking strides in the international circuit. In fact, she’s played at the 2013 Youth Asian Games, the 2014 Youth Olympics, and the 2014 Asian Games. Still, her biggest achievement so far has been winning the 2015 Ladies’ British Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
Aditi is a golfer from Delhi. In 2016, she became the first Indian female golfer to qualify for the Olympics. She went on to create history by becoming the first player from India to finish in the Top 40 at an Olympics. Aditi was also the youngest player to compete at Rio 2016 and became India’s first representative on the LPGA tour in 2017.